Today I picked up a used but in great condition, Yamaha FX500 Effect Processor along with the Yamaha MFC06 foot switch for $50 bucks. I’m not sure if that was a good deal or not as I know they can be found for quite cheap, but I had a particularly hard time tracking one down in Japan. I also got the manuals, cables, and Yamaha FC5 foot pedal in the package. Overall it’s a pretty cool setup and I’m anxious to try it out on my keys and synths. I had heard that the Reverbs were particularly good in the Yamaha FX500 with the most popular being the “Soft Focus” patch which is similar to the Slow Gear sound. I’ve also been informed that the Chorus, Flanger, and Delays are not bad either. The presets range from 1-60 while the user programs range from 61-90.
The Yamaha FX500 is referred to as a Simul-FX processor, so you can have Compression, Distortion, EQ, Reverb, and Modulation going all at the same time. The reverb section includes several Reverbs, Delay, and Echo, and the modulator can be either Chorus, Flange, or Tremolo for example.
I think the Yamaha FX500’s main competition back in the late 80’s and early 90’s was the BOSS SE-50 which I used to have for quite a while. I actually had a lot of problems with my SE-50 ( mainly hardware issues ) that prompted me to sell the processor. I’ll be interested to know how the Yamaha FX500 stacks up to the SE-50 and other effects I have. I don’t plan to use it with the guitar, but I’ll probably try it out anyway with my Fender Strat to see how it sounds.
Update: I plugged my guitar into the Yamaha FX500 and I was very impressed. Indeed the Slow Gear sound “Soft Focus” was awesome, but I also particularly liked the reverb coupled with Chorus and/or Flanger. There’s some really lush effects and it definitely reminds me of those 80’s deep reverb and chorus sounds I heard on a lot of albums. By no means am I an effects expert, but to my ears I think the Yamaha FX500 was a pretty nice find and a great price for the effects I got. Note that after I bought the unit I did a factory reset which is “Press [COMP] and [MOD] plus Power On”. I also noticed no power button issues which I know is a common problem with the FX500. I guess it’s prone to giving out, but which can quickly be fixed by soldering the jack inside better. I did this with my Roland GR-1 so there shouldn’t be any problems.
Feel free to comment or visit my new forums at Synth Japan if you have any questions or would like additional info. Thanks!